Evaluation of the Writing Explorer’s Box: a new learning to write method to improve the writing motor skills of primary school children
||To evaluate the influence that regular practice with the Writing Explorer’s Box has on the development of writing motor skills in children just starting school.
||The test sample included 102 first-year pupils, with three test classes and three control classes. In addition to their regular German lessons, the children in the test classes completed weekly exercises with the Writing Explorer’s Box throughout the whole school year. The children in the control classes only attended the regular lessons. The writing skills of all children increased over the course of the school year (three test intervals: beginning, middle and end of the school year). Using a kinematic writing analysis program (WritingCoach® software), the children’s writing frequency, writing pressure and degree of automation were recorded while they wrote. The recorded data were statistically analysed.
||For the most part, children who are just beginning to write are considerably better at “insignificant” writing tasks – such as drawing squiggles or crosshatching – than writing letters. If the children were to use their full potential, they would be able to write simple letters with loops (which involve motor movements that are very similar to those for squiggles), for example, at least twice as fast. The focus of the Writing Explorer’s Box exercises lies in the fact that it is precisely these existing basic motor skills which can be more effectively carried over to the writing of letters or even sentences with the help of targeted exercises.
A kinematic writing analysis program was used during the test to investigate whether the writing motor skills of the children in the test classes developed more rapidly in comparison to the normal development which was to be expected for the control children.
At the beginning of the year, the children in the test and control classes on the whole already possessed good basic motor skills. In terms of writing frequency and writing pressure, both groups were shown to be comparable after their performance in writing a test word (“Auto”) and simple loops was measured. However, in comparison to the control classes, the children in the test classes developed better over the course of the school year: the children wrote the same test word and the loops significantly faster at the end of the school year than the children in the control classes. At the same time, they applied significantly less writing pressure than the children in the control classes. Both of these things are seen as a first step towards early automation of movements.
The targeted and regular motor exercises with the Writing Explorer’s Box therefore positively influenced the development of the children’s writing motor skills.
||August 2014 - August 2016